Tax Roundup, 5/14/2013: Worst Acting Commissioner Ever? And a career tip.

May 14th, 2013 by Joe Kristan


Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller

Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller

Steven Miller, acting head of the IRS since Doug Shulman left office, apparently hasn’t been any more honest than The Worst Commissioner Ever about IRS harassment of right-side political groups.  AP reports:

Miller was first informed on May, 3, 2012, that applications for tax-exempt status by tea party groups were inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny,    the IRS said Monday.

At least twice after the briefing, Miller wrote letters to members of Congress to explain the process of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status without disclosing that tea party groups had been targeted.

We’re supposed to tell the truth when we file our returns.  It’s not asking too much for them to return the favor.

Not just harassment, but leaking confidential information.  IRS Office That Targeted Tea Party Also Disclosed Confidential Docs From Conservative Groups (

No, too late.  White House: Too early to talk about firing IRS employees  (

So it’s the Supreme Court’s Fault?  Pelosi: IRS Scandal “An Opportunity” To Scrutinize 501(c)(4)s And “Overturn Citizens United”  All right, then.


TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 5

Russ Fox, Drip, Drip, Drip: The IRS Scandal Continues to Grow

Jeremy Scott, Lerner’s Admission and Apology Ring Hollow (Tax Analysts):

 The incompetence boggles the mind. It’s also bewildering how the Service could sit in front of GOP lawmakers and chastise them for underfunding tax enforcement when employees were using some of those supposedly precious funds to conduct a politically charged vendetta against conservative exempt organizations.

I think the perpetrators were quite competent in doing what they set out to do.  The only incompetence was in getting caught.  But he’s absolutely right that the agency’s poor-mouthing, including next week’s furloughs, will no longer convince anybody.


TaxGrrrl,  Congress And The President Want You To Get Mad At IRS Over Tax Exempt Targets (Just Not At Them):

It’s clear that those at the top knew something (it has been reported that Shulman was alerted to the issue in 2012) and that it wasn’t the work of a handful of rogue operatives. It was a plan. And then IRS lied about it. And they should be held accountable.

But it still disturbs me that no one in Washington really seemed to care until the behavior went public.

Many of us didn’t believe the IRS would really do something so outrageous.  I had seen some of the questions that IRS was asking Tea Party outfits, and they seemed out of line, but I figured the IRS was being an equal-opportunity annoyance.  That they did it politically is what is triggering the outrage.


Howard Gleckman,  The IRS Was Wrong to Single Out Tea Parties, But Many Political Groups Should Not be Tax-Exempt.  Yes, let’s change the subject.

Going Concern, Here Are Some of Things People Are Saying About the IRS Scandal,  An excellent roundup of the state of play, but with too much emphasis on the “incompetence” slant and not enough on “evil.”

Patrick Temple-West, IRS targeted groups critical of government, and more (Tax Break)

Kay Bell, Rubio demands resignation of nonexistent IRS commissioner; Obama vows to ‘find out exactly what happened’.  He can get some sleuthing tips from O.J.

Linda Beale,  More on the IRS’s “targeting of conservative groups”.  She tries to play down the issue.  It shows how slim are the pickings for those who don’t want to think this is a big deal.


In other news: has moved.  For reasons that elude me, Tax Analysts has apparently given up the handy domain and moved their excellent group blog to a tab on their home page,  I think that’s a mistake, but it’s worth going out of your way to find it.

Martin Sullivan, Do U.S. Multinationals Have It Tough? (Tax Analysts).

Russ Fox, Leisure Suit Larry Goes to Tax Court

Peter Reilly,  Electing To Capitalize Expenses Can Pay Off On Sale

Kyle Pomerleau,  Another Year, another Obamacare Tax (Tax Policy Blog)

Jack Townsend,  The Dangers of the Unrecorded Interview by Criminal Agents — FBI or IRS

It’s Tuesday, so it’s Buzz Day at Robert D. Flach’s place.


Career Advice.  Protip: Threatening to Kill Your Colleagues, Even in the Midst of a Brutal Busy Season, Is Never Cool (Going Concern).  OK, I take it back.  Mistakes were made. There was no threat intended in my overzealous pursuit of tax return excellence.  It was just an administrative shortcut.  OK, incompetent, but not evil.  I vow to find out exactly what happened.  If I threatened anyone, it was outrageous.



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